Health & Safety

2 Simple and proven ways to prevent HIV/AIDS

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Practice safe sex and avoid contact with a HIV/AIDS infected blood – these are highly recommended prevention measures to observe if you want to live a healthy and longer life.

Probably because of poor attitude towards living a healthy lifestyle and lack of knowledge about the disease, HIV/AIDS infection became rampant among Overseas Filipino Workers, particularly seafarers. In a blogpost I wrote entitled ‘5 well-grounded reasons why seafarers get HIV/AIDS’ we can infer than due to the nature of our occupation, seafarers likely acquire the deadly malady.

If you are a seafarer, when was the last time you engaged in an unprotected sex? Of course, it’s your personal secret and you don’t need to tell us. But I wonder if have you got yourself tested recently? If you have second thoughts about your HIV/AIDS status, go to your local health department, community clinic, private doctor or family planning clinics now, and get yourself screened!

“Mahalagang malaman ang iyong HIV status. Huwag Matakot, Huwag Mahiya. Narito ang DOH para sa inyo. Pumunta na sa pinakamalapit na testing Centers. Libre po ito.” ex-secretary Janet Garin, Department of Health (DOH) Press Release/May 6, 2015.

For more information about HIV/AIDS from DOH, read this.

On the other hand, one helpful ITF publication states verbatim;
The best way for sexually active people to protect themselves from HIV is to have safe sex, using a condom every time they have sexual intercourse.

In addition, we can learn how to avoid infected blood from it.
• Do not share razor blades or syringes (injections) with anyone.
• Ensure that body piercing and tattooing equipment is sterilised
• Do not let blood from a cut on someone else get into any cut on your own skin. Lastly,
• if there is an accident at work or on the road, follow the correct safety procedures, known as universal precautions.

There is still no cure for HIV/AIDS. It is only by keen prevention that one can stop the virus to break inside the borders of his own body.

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Cash aids and free medical services for displaced Saudi OFWs

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©Pixabay, ©DOH

The Saudi government recently gave a 3-months leeway for some Filipinos who are unwarrantedly staying and working inside the ‘kingdom’. They should clear their coasts and be well-documented migrant workers on or before June 29.

Those who can’t make it were eventually encouraged to go back to Philippines.

If you’re returning to the country soon or has arrived home already, here’s good news – the Department of Health (DOH) offers financial support and free health care services for repatriated OFWs like you!

In one newspaper report, Secretary Paulyn Ubial said that you can get financial aid and have your health condition checked in our government facilities.

In addition, should you wish to avail any medical, surgical and dental service,worry less for it will be all free of charge!

Enjoy DOH’s support and welcome back to Philippines, kabayan!

Reference:

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BLOGBITES

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Safety measures to observe before, during and after a Storm Surge

The Philippines, an island surrounded by bodies of water, is vulnerable to storm surges. Filipinos often hear in warnings in weather reports of a possible storm surge in coastal areas during typhoons. The populous Metro Manila experienced a storm surge caused by Typhoon Pedring in September 2011 when the sea walls of Manila Bay were destroyed and the US Embassy and Sofitel Philippine Plaza were submerged in floodwaters.

A storm surge causes severe flooding, that was all we knew until the devastation of Tacloban City by Super Typhoon Yolanda on November 8, 2013. The images and the testimonials that we saw and heard in media became a grim realization that Filipinos must not only know but try to understand what a storm surge is.

Some storm surge survivors in Tacloban City claimed that if the warnings were that of a tsunami, they would have known what to expect and do. ABS-CBN’s TV Patrol anchor, Ted Failon, who had first- hand experience in ground-zero on the day of the devastation, commented there was no direct translation of storm surge in Filipino. He added that the nearest word to describe it is “daluyong” or “wave” or even “tidal wave.” Meanwhile, Dr. Armando Lee, a health emergency management staff from the Department of Health-National Capital Region suggested in a Facebook post to call a storm surge as “taclob,” a pun for “taklob” which means “to cover” and also “Tacloban,” the worst hit city.

Until such time that someone can come with the right and acceptable Filipino word for storm surge, it is important to define it first. A storm surge is not a tsunami or a tidal wave. A tsunami is a giant wave caused by earthquakes or volcanic eruptions under the sea or landslides into the sea, while a tidal wave is a gigantic wave caused by the force of the moon and sun (astronomical tide). A storm surge is the rising of the sea level associated with the passing of a tropical storm or typhoon. This is due to the push of strong winds on the water surface, the piling up of big waves, pressure setup and astronomical tide moving towards the shore. In other words, the stronger the winds or the larger the storm the higher the surge.

The DOH released the following advisory which is based on the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOOA) information on what to do before, during and after a storm surge.

Planning for a storm surge and evacuation could save lives. Be prepared. Know the hazards that may affect you, your family, and your home. Make plans for where you’ll go if told to evacuate. Have a disaster supply kit within reach. Stay tuned to local radio and television stations, and listen for advisories or specific instructions from your local officials.

Before A Storm Surge

  • Know if your area is at risk
  • Know the types of hazards that could affect your home and family
  • Assess your risks and identify ways to make your home and property more secure. Make a disaster evacuation plan.
  • If you live close to the floodplain, consider flood insurance.
  • Locate the safest areas in your home, and decide on an escape route should you need to evacuate.

During A Storm Surge

  • Monitor radio and television for the latest news and advisories.
  • If local officials ask you to evacuate, do so IMMEDIATELY!
  • Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around, and go another way.
  • Keep children out of the water.
  • If you come upon a flooded road while driving, DO NOT attempt to cross flowing water.
  • After the Flood

Return home only when officials have declared the area safe.

  • During cleanup, wear protective clothing, including gloves and boots. Make sure your food and water are safe.
  • Do not use water that could be contaminated to wash dishes, brush teeth, prepare food, wash hands, make ice or make baby formula. (Remember that breastfeeding is a lifeline and a shield that protects infants in emergencies and disasters. – Ed)

This article was originally published in HealthBeat Issue No. 79 2013 of the Department of Health. Minor edits applied.

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How not to get ill during the typhoon season

Here’s how!

Water:
• Make sure drinking water is from a safe source.
• When in doubt, do not drink. Boil it for 3 minutes or chlorinate drinking water to make it safe.

Food:
• Food should be well-cooked.
• Left-overs should be covered and kept away from household pests.
• Food waste should be disposed properly.

Clothing:
-Keep yourself dry and warm.

Others:
• Consult a doctor at once if you, or any member of your household, have any sign or symptom to prevent the spread of infection in the evacuation area.
• Common infections or diseases that may spread in an evacuation area include: coughs and colds, acute gastroenteritis, skin and eye infections, measles, dengue, leptospirosis, hepatitis A.
• Do not allow children wade in floodwaters to avoid diseases such as leptospirosis.
• Dispose all waste properly.
• Maintain personal hygiene, always wash your hands before and after eating and using the toilet.
• Put safety first. Avoid hanging wires and unstable structures.

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Source: Department of Health

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How to protect yourself from deadly health hazards of La Niña

La Niña is a weather phenomena characterized by unusually cold ocean temperature in the Equatorial Pacific which causes increased numbers of tropical storms in the Pacific Ocean.

Health Effects

  • Disease related to contaminated water due to flooding, such as acute gastroenteritis, typhoid fever, cholera and hepatitis A.
  • Disease related to wading in floodwaters contaminated with urine of infected animals, such as leptospirosis.
  • Disease brought by mosquitoes, such as dengue and malaria.
  • Accidents and injuries such as contusions, lacerations, fractures, electrocution.

Prevention

  • Boil your drinking water (Upon reaching boiling point, extend boiling for two or more minutes) or Do water chlorination
  • Wash hands before preparing food and after using the toilet.
  • Avoid wading in floodwater. If you must, wear rubber boots.
  • Clean-up all possible mosquito breeding sites, such as vases, empty coconut shells, old tires and tin cans.

What to Do In Case of Flood

  • Stay inside a house or building during heavy rains.
  • Avoid wading and taking baths in floodwaters.
  • When a flood advisory is issued, residents in low lying areas should seek for higher grounds.
  • Avoid crossing low-lying areas and bridges during evacuation.

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Source: Department of Health

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Health & Safety Tips during Haze

HAZE due to forest fire can cause air pollution which can bring about increased risks for Respiratory Tract Infections and Cardiac Ailments.

What to do?

Elderly, children and those with respiratory (Asthma ,COPD) and cardiovascular diseases:

  • Stay indoors with good ventilation
  • Wear appropriate dust masks when going outside the house.
  • Refrain from physical activities (exercise, etc) in heavily polluted areas.

Motorists should exercise extreme caution whenever on the road to prevent accidents.

  • Use headlights/foglights.
  • Follow the required minimum speed level and extreme caution in low, visibility driving.
  • Ensure that vehicle is in good running condition.

Stay away from low-lying areas where smoke and suspended particles may settle.

Consult a doctor if there is:

  • difficulty in breathing
  • cough
  • chest pain
  • increased tearing of the eyes
  • nose or throat irritation

Tune in to your radio or television for more health advisories.

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Source: Department of Health

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Your Health and Safety when El Niño strikes

The El Niño phenomenon is characterized by extreme climatic conditions; extreme temperature rise with a little rainfall, and at the opposite extreme, there is unusually heavy rainfall.

Health Effects

  • Diseases related to water scarcity or shortage such as diarrhea and skin diseases
  • Red Tide Blooms : Paralytic shellfish poisoning
  • Disorders associated with high temperatures: heat cramps, heat exhaustion, exertional heat injury and heat stroke

What to do?

  • Conserve water and use it wisely.
  • Protect water sources from contamination.
  • Drink more fluids.
  • Listen to the updates on shellfish ban.
  • Wear light clothing.
  • Avoid strenuous physical activity.

Be prepared for the coming of El Niño phenomenon!

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Source: Department of Health

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Take care of your health this holiday season

Here are some health tips for the Christmas Season:

  1. Plan Christmas activities for yourself and your family to prevent tension and stress.
  2. Take care of yourself and your family against changes in temperature. Children and adults may become susceptible to cough, colds and fever. If your cough, colds and fever is more than five days, consult your nearest health station.
  3. Prepare a well-balanced Noche Buena and Media Noche meals. Make sure that vegetable and fruits are on the table together with your traditional ham and queso de bola.
  4. Be kind to your heart. Eat a moderate amount of nutritious foods to sustain your daily activities.
  5. Drink plenty of liquids. Drink plenty of water and fruit juices to facilitate excretion.
  6. Have enough sleep. Give yourself enough sleep so that the mind and body can rest.
  7. Avoid crowded areas because bacteria that cause diseases multiply and spread easily. Airy and well- ventilated areas are essential to healthy living.
  8. Use environment-friendly Christmas decors that cost less and are not fire hazards. Save decors for next year and store them in a safe place.
  9. Buy toys with no pointed or sharp edges; nor too small toys that can cause choking.
  10. Do not use fireworks and firecrackers during the Holidays. Make some noise even without fireworks and firecrackers. Stay alive and whole for the coming year.

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Source: Department of Health

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Diseases/Conditions to watch out during Summer Time

March to May is vacation time and fiesta season in the country. To avoid food poisoning, diarrhea, heat associated ailments and recreation-associated injuries, the public is advised to take the following precautions.

Food and Water-borne Diseases

  • Typhoid
  • Cholera
  • Hepatitis A
  • Food Poisoning

Others

  • Diarrheas
  • Sore Eyes
  • Measles (Tigdas)
  • Mosquito-borne Diseases
  • Dengue
  • Malaria

Other Conditions

  • Sunburn
  • Prickly Heat

Health Tips

Food and drinks

Cook food properly.

  • Preferably, foods must be eaten immediately after cooking (while still hot).
  • Left-over food should be refrigerated and reheated before being eaten.
  • Food handlers should wash their hands before and after food preparation.
  • If sick, you should avoid preparing food for others.
  • Avoid drinking water and iced beverages of doubtful quality.
  • If water quality is doubtful, boil your drinking water for at least 2 minutes.
  • Peel and wash fruits / vegetables before eating.
  • Wash hands before and after eating.

At the beach

  • Do not allow children to swim without the company of an adult who can swim and is not drunk.
  • Avoid staying under the sun with scanty clothes for more than 3 hours as this predisposes to sunburn, heat exhaustion and the worst, heat stroke.
  • Should you want a tan, drink plenty of fluids so as not to dehydrate yourself.

While on the road

  • Check your vehicle very well before going on a trip.
  • Bring your repair kit with you.
  • When drunk, never attempt to drive.

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Source: Department of Health

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Diphtheria

Diphtheria is a bacterial (toxin-related) disease. It is an acute pharyngitis, acute naso pharyngitis or acute laryngitis with a pseudomembrane formation in the throat.

 Infectious Agent: Corynebacterium diphtheria

 Reservoir: Man

 Incubation Period: 2 to 5 days or may be longer

 Mode of Transmission:

  • By droplets spread through sneezing, coughing and close personal contact.

 Period of Communicability:

  • May last for 2 to 3 weeks
    • May be shortened in patients with antibiotic treatment
    • Diphtheria transmission is increased in schools, hospitals, households and in crowded areas.

 Prevention:

  • Immunization of infants with 3 doses of DPT (at ages 6 weeks old, 10 weeks old and 14 weeks old).

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Source: Department of Health

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